Lawyers with supreme court business paid Clarence Thomas aide via Venmo - The Guardian

Several lawyers who have had business before the supreme court, including one who successfully argued to end race-conscious admissions at universities, paid money to a top aide to Justice Clarence Thomas, according to the aide’s Venmo transactions. The payments appear to have been made in connection to Thomas’s 2019 Christmas party.

The payments to Rajan Vasisht, who served as Thomas’s aide from July 2019 to July 2021, seem to underscore the close ties between Thomas, who is embroiled in ethics scandals following a series of revelations about his relationship with a wealthy billionaire donor, and certain senior Washington lawyers who argue cases and have other business in front of the justice.

The lawyers who made the Venmo transactions were: Patrick Strawbridge, a partner at Consovoy McCarthy who recently successfully argued that affirmative action violated the US constitution; Kate Todd, who served as White House deputy counsel under Donald Trump at the time of the payment and is now a managing party of Ellis George Cipollone’s law office; Elbert Lin, the former solicitor general of West Virginia who played a key role in a supreme court case that limited the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions; and Brian Schmalzbach, a partner at McGuire Woods who has argued multiple cases before the supreme court.

Other lawyers who made payments include Manuel Valle, a graduate of Hillsdale College and the University of Chicago Law School who clerked for Thomas last year and is currently working as a managing associate at Sidley, and Liam Hardy, who was working at the Department of Justice’s office of legal counsel at the time the payment was made and now serves as an appeals court judge for the armed forces.

Will Consovoy, who died earlier this year, also made a payment. Consovoy clerked for Thomas during the 2008-09 term and was considered a rising star in conservative legal circles. After his death, the New York Times reported that Consovoy had come away from his time working for Thomas “with the conviction that the court was poised to tilt further to the right – and that constitutional rulings that had once been considered out of reach by conservatives, on issues like voting rights, abortion and affirmative action, would suddenly be within grasp”.

None of the lawyers who made payments responded to emailed questions from the Guardian.

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The Guardian

Locations: West Virginia 

Organizations: Venmo Supreme Court Consovoy McCarthy White House Environmental Protection Agency McGuire Woods Hillsdale College Sidley United States Department of Justice (DOJ) New York Times 

People: Clarence Thomas Rajan Vasisht Patrick Strawbridge Kate Todd Ellis George Cipollone Elbert Lin Brian Schmalzbach Manuel Valle Liam Hardy Will Consovoy 

Tags: Corruption Lobbying 

Type: Headlines